Second Harvest Food Bank director says hunger an 'unseen epidemic'

June 06, 2003

By J.H. Osborne

GRAY - More than 20,000 children in Northeast Tennessee receive free or reduced-price meals at local schools. "And unfortunately, they may not have the food they need throughout summer," Rhonda Chafin said Thursday, which was National Hunger Awareness Day.

Chafin is executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee. She and others involved in the organization's ongoing effort to provide food to the hungry gathered to mark the day's purpose - raising awareness that hunger not only exists but is "an unseen epidemic."

Across the nation, an estimated 9 million children go hungry each day, Chafin said. "And it grows more acute in the summer," Chafin said. "We must increase awareness." Don Cook, president of Second Harvest's board of directors, also cited a need to expose hunger as a real problem. "It is a huge problem in Northeast Tennessee," Cook said.

Several awards were presented to organizations that have contributed to Second Harvest. Food Lion was named the Food Donor of the Year for 2002. The grocery store chain donated more than 172,000 pounds of food to Second Harvest in 2002. Food Lion kicked off its "Hunger Has A Cure" campaign Thursday.

The store-level effort gives Food Lion patrons an opportunity to donate at the checkout. The goal is to raise $358,000. The National Association of Letter Carriers was awarded Food Drive of the Year for 2002 honors for collecting more than 60,000 pounds of food in one day.

Kraft Foods Inc. was given special recognition for several years of financial and food donations to Second Harvest. "Without the help of donors like Kraft, we would not be able to serve the needy in our community," Chafin said.

Cook said donors like Food Lion, Kraft and individuals who contribute to food drives like the one conducted by the letter carriers are "the lifeblood" of Second Harvest. "Without donors it would be impossible for us to fight the fight against hunger in our area," Cook said.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee is located at 127 Dillon Court, Gray, TN 37615. The organization's Web address is

For more information about hosting a food drive, volunteering or donating contact Nicole Austin at 477-4053. - J.H. Osborne

Copyright 2003 Kingsport Times-News.

Why people are hungry

Kingsport Times-News September 12, 2002

Re. the story on Hunger First's efforts to feed the hungry, Coordinator Cindy Risk said if folks "want to do the Jesus thing, there's no better place to try. I say God bless to all, because we couldn't do it without them."

Jesus is not a thing. He is God, Son of God and Holy Spirit. I don't believe there are so many people going hungry as she says. I give canned goods at designated places. These people would not need it if they would stop playing the lottery, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes.

They take their rent money, car payment and grocery money is the reason for these people's financial troubles.

God provides for all, if you trust in him. You've got to live for him, seven days a week, not just two hours on Sunday. No one has a habit they can't quit.

Robert L. Barr
Kingsport Copyright 2002 Kingsport Times-News

Don't blame hungry

Kingsport Times-News September 18, 2002

Re. Robert L. Barr's letter about why people are hungry, it is absolutely ridiculous to suggest that all hungry people use all their money on "lottery, drinking alcohol, and smoking cigarettes."

Some people can't find a job or don't make enough money at their job to pay for all their expenses. It's hard to get by these days when you have a good job, much less with a minimum wage job or no job at all. I'm sure that there are some that waste their money, but to make the suggestion that all hungry people have brought their hunger on themselves is nothing short of crazy.

And there are Christians in this world who are hungry too.

Barbara Blaser
Kingsport Copyright 2002 Kingsport Times-News